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Sat Apr 13, 2019, 12:30 AM

Life sentence for ex-Argentine Army general for summary execution of guerrillas in 1989

Retired Army General Alfredo Arrillaga, 85, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the summary execution of guerrillas surrendering after the recapture of the La Tablada Army barracks in early 1989.

Arrillaga was found guilty of aggravated homicide in the case of José Diaz, 29, who was photographed at the time with his hands up and showing a white flag, although at least three similar cases of shooting prisoners are suspected.

The far left Movimiento Todos por la Patria ('All for the Fatherland Movement') overran the La Tablada barracks on January 23, 1989, on the pretext that they were heading off a military coup against President Raúl Alfonsín.

The battle lasted two days, with 32 dead guerrillas, nine soldiers, two policemen, and two civilians left dead.

Arrillaga is already serving five other life sentences under house arrest for human rights violations during the 1976-83 military dictatorship. He is serving those terms under house arrest.

At: http://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/life-sentence-for-ex-army-general-for-summary-execution-of-guerrillas-in-1989.phtml

Retired Argentine Army General Alfredo Arrillaga

The January 1989 La Tablada barracks attack, the last serious incident of far-left violence in Argentina, left 32 of the 46 assailants dead - plus four disappeared, including the rebels' attorney, Jorge Baños.

The incident, 30 years later, remains little understood. Many link it to the 1989 elections, held just four months later - though its effect on the results was minimal.

No credible explanation has been given by the Argentine government for the four disappearances.

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Response to sandensea (Original post)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 03:50 PM

1. Didn't know any leftists hoped to overthrow Ral Alfonsn, about whom I know nothing.

Had assumed he was a decent President as he came after the dictatorship, or did he? Confusing.

Looks as if killing young people became an addiction for the military during the dictatorship, for sure.

Just found a Wikipedia report on the 1989 attack on La Tablada barracks:

The 1989 attack on La Tablada barracks was an assault on the military barracks located in La Tablada, in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, by 40 members of Movimiento Todos por la Patria (MTP), commanded by former ERP leader Enrique Gorriarán Merlo. 39 people were killed and 60 injured by the time the Argentine army retook the barracks. The MTP carried out the assault under the alleged pretense of preventing a military coup supposedly planned for the end of January 1989 by the Carapintadas, a group of far-right military officers who opposed the investigations and trials concerning Argentina's last civil-military dictatorship (1976-1983).

The Argentine president of the time, Raúl Alfonsín declared that the attack, which carried the ultimate goal of sparking a massive popular uprising, could have led to a civil war.[1] Given a life sentence and imprisoned, as his comrades, in high security quarters, Gorriarán Merlo was eventually freed in 2003.[2][3] He died on 22 September 2006 while awaiting surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

. . .

According to Clarín newspaper, three different versions about the attack exist.[4] Ten days before the assault, lawyer and MTP member Jorge Baños had declared in a conference that the Carapintadas were planning a coup for the end of January. The Carapintadas were members of the Armed Forces that had rebelled against the national government three times in 1987 and 1988, protesting the investigations on human rights abuses during the "National Reorganization Process" (1976–1983). This has remained to this day the MTP's version, held in particular by the late Gorriarán Merlo who claimed that the MTP was fulfilling the constitutional obligation of "bear[ing] arms in defense of the fatherland and of [the] Constitution".[5][6]

The official report on the attack by head of the Army Francisco Gassino claimed in contrary that it was the MTP, formed of several former ERP members, that had planned a coup. A last version claims that the MTP was victim of a manipulation by intelligence services. A sociologist and professor who published an investigation into the attack believes the MTP had wider aims: "They weren’t planning to put down a coup. They were creating the false image of a coup, to set the scene, but were planning to take the barracks and from there start a revolution."[7]

. . .


At no point reading this report did I grasp what happened! Very confusing.

I do know that a poster here I had known since 2000, on the CNN message board system they had back then, in a forum on Cuba, a man who as time went by revealed he had been a journalist with UPI at some point in his life, after getting his university education in South America, and marrying an Argentine woman, and living in Chile, and Argentina during the dictatorships, and traveling throughout the Americas with his job, who also died, unfortunately, a few years ago, did mention many years back the Carapintadas as a formidable, violent military group who continued, after the dictatorship, to involve itself in covert ops throughout the whole of the Americas training violent tactics to local militaries. His tone referring to them was mysterious, hard to penetrate, and he didn't speak freely of them, but he left the impression they were intensely violent and focused.

This paragraph is especially monstrous:

The Argentine Army, assisted by the Buenos Aires Police (a total of 3,600 personnel) was called on to counterattack, and indiscriminately used white phosphorus (WP) in the zone, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, which in civil wars are only binding with the consent of both parties, and not at all in police actions. The use of WP in combat is forbidden by international law. In this case, it had the effect of completely burning the barracks and of carbonizing corpses.[4][8][9] 39 people were killed and 60 injured during the attack (the majority by conventional weapons). Nine were military personnel, two were police officers and the 28 remaining were members of the MTP. Lawyer Jorge Baños was among the dead.[10] In addition, 53 soldiers and police were wounded in the fighting.[11]


Learning this happened is real food for thought, a realization this whole era was far, FAR worse than our own corporate media even ever hinted in the most distant, passing sense. We were surely bamboozled right here, and kept completely unaware how constant US support was, as in Kissinger's direct support, throughout.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 05:06 PM

2. The MTP claimed at the time they did this to prevent a supposed coup plot against Alfonsin

Their leadership had in fact announced a week earlier (January 16) that they had "uncovered" a plot between Carapintada leader Mohammed Alí Seineldín and Carlos Menem (the Peronist nominee) to overthrow Alfonsín.

But to this day there is no consensus as to what really provoked the incident.

While it's extremely hard to believe Menem would seek a coup against Alfonsín just four months before elections that every poll showed he was sure to win (Menem did indeed win by 12 points), the far-right Carapintadas had in fact staged Army base mutinies three times in recent months in retaliation for the imprisonment of former Junta leaders in '85.

On the other hand, overrunning Army barracks hardly seems like something that anyone hoping to "prevent a coup" would do - on the contrary, had the military not been so loyal to Alfonsín and the rule of law, it could have easily provoked just that!

Thanks as always for your research, Judi. One of history's mysteries, I suppose.

MTP leaders Jorge Baños, Francisco Provenzano, and Father Antonio Puigjané during their January 16, 1989, press conference warning of what they believed was a coup plot against Alfonsín.

Baños, a talented human rights lawyer, was killed during the Army counteroffensive; Provenzano was detained and, according to an Army officer, tortured to death; and Puigjané - who opposed the occupation of the barracks and was not at the scene - was detained, tortured, granted house arrest in 1998, and pardoned in 2003.

Puigjané taught catechism for a number of years, and, now 90, is in hospice care at a Buenos Aires monastery.

He always denounced the occupation of the La Tablada barracks as an "ill-advised suicide mission, egged on by Enrique Gorriarán Merlo" (a '70s-era far-left ERP terrorist who corresponded with MTP leaders in the late '80s as a fugitive in Mexico; he was extradited to Argentina in 1995 and died in prison in '97).

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Response to sandensea (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 06:47 PM

3. Had heard orignally through the former journalist with the UPI ( before it was sold to Rev. Moon )

that the Carapintadas have been involved in activities against leftists in Central America, as well, after the dictatorship in Argentina. Here's a quick reference from the Wikipedia on that:

. . .

As was reported in the Buenos Aires Herald at the time, and in The Journal of Commerce and other US publications, both Rico and Sineldin spent time in Central America, where they trained Argentine cadres and other troops involved in supporting the US anti-leftist mission in the region. Both men have more than tangential connection to the organized torture and human rights violations that were carried out by the Argentine military during the nation's Dirty War.

On October 1989, president elect Carlos Menem signed a pardon for a number of detained military men; including 39 held by events during the military dictatorship, and 164 Carapintadas. In spite of this, on December 3, 1990 Seineldin again staged what would become known as the most violent Carapintada uprising. After the takeover of eight regiments, the rebellion ended with several deaths and 300 arrested.[3] Because of President Menem’s positive relations with the military, the uprising did not gain much military support and was shut down by the loyalist military within 36 hours.[3] A few days later, Menem signed the pardon for all the most important people convicted for misdeeds during the Dirty War.

. . .


~ ~ ~

From the New York Times Archives:

A Warning From Argentina
MARCH 23, 1990

. . .

The major and like-minded junior officers staged two further revolts. From the war paint smeared on their faces during these uprisings, they took the name ''carapintadas,'' meaning painted faces. They endorsed Mr. Menem's candidacy, and were rewarded with an amnesty covering all crimes during military rule.

Mr. Menem also ordered carapintada leaders retired from active duty. That left them more time to agitate politically. As the Op-Ed article suggests, they do not seek direct military rule. Their hope is to exercise power informally from within a figurehead Menem regime.

That's unacceptable for most Argentines, who blame the military for the disasters of the 70's and 80's. The carapintadas seek to deflect blame elsewhere - to the generals, to former President Alfonsin, to interests resisting the Menem reforms.

. . .


~ ~ ~

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 06:07
The former carapintadas in the coup against Evo

. . .

In this framework act the sectors represented in UnAmérica, an organization in which the Argentine Carapintada Mones Ruiz serves as secretary, and they plan to file a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Morales government accusing him of being responsible for the Massacre of Pando. The objective is to counteract the report approved by UNASUR that led to the prison, among others, of the Prefect of Pando for the persecution and the racist assassinations fired from the extreme right.


~ ~ ~

Very strange info. which popped up in a computer translation regarding Carapintados:

30 years after "the house is in order", the carapintadas continue to bother
In the Holy Week of 1987, the government of Raúl Alfonsín had to face the most important military crisis since the return of democracy. What did the mutineers look for?

By Juan Robledo
April 15, 2017

. . .

Justice framed the events of Holy Week as a "riot", a disciplinary offense - and not a crime against the constitutional order - for which only a few ringleaders had to respond. But if one takes into account the political instability that they generated, the "legal truth" is not up to the "historical truth". Rare paradox: that argument is the same as Juan José Gómez Centurión , a former carapitanda, months ago, when he questioned the "legal truth" of the existence of a systematic plan for the disappearance of people during the last dictatorship.

. . .


~ ~ ~

Some "Felices Pascuas" anniversary, isn't it? 32 years ago, almost exactly.

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Response to sandensea (Original post)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 06:55 PM

4. This is ugly, and super creepy to someone living outside the area!

(Computer translated.)

Former carapintada and PRO reference in Defense: "We were young and there was anger"

The retired Major Juan José Gómez Centurión, a former carapintada and current Macrista reference in defense issues, justified his participation in the uprisings against democracy and the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín, the UCR leader (now a minority alliance of the PRO).

Andrés Brown Writing in Orsai // Friday, October 16, 2015 | 13:44

Juan José Gómez Centurión, 57, is a retired Army major who joined the uprisings of Aldo Rico at the end of the 1980s.

In his curriculum he is presented as "paratrooper and commando, veteran of the Malvinas war", where he served under the command of Mohamed Ali Seineldin. Although he has spoken of his participation in the carapintadas surveys.

"We were very young and there was a lot of anger with the military leadership, which did not finish restructuring an army that had lost the war," he was justified before a morning consulted on the point.

This week his name came to the forefront because he made statements to the newspaper La Nación on what would be the security policy of Macrismo in the event that Cambiemos arrives at the Casa Rosada. But strictly speaking, Gómez Centurión has been an official of the PRO for three years: Mauricio Macri put him in charge of the porteña Government Control Agency - the main control body of the City - in October 2012.

Among his proposals for government, Macri has been talking about creating a special agency against organized crime. González Centurión, as head of the defense teams of the Pensar Foundation, to which Macri commissioned the design of his policy for the area, was mentioned as the source of a note from La Nación on the proposals of Cambio and the Frente Renovador to enable to the Armed Forces to perform tasks of internal security, before "the advance of drug trafficking."

According to the article, the macrismo promotes the intervention of the Armed Forces in support to the security forces "for a period of two or three years".

At the Pensar Foundation, Gómez Centurión leads a team of 28 people. The former carapintada usually speaks on behalf of the PRO in public forums, as his expert on defense issues.

His rise caused stupor within a sector of the radial allies of the PRO: Ricardo Alfonsin was quick to express his repudiation (the carapintadas rose up against the government of his father), while Ernesto Sanz concealed and pretended that nothing happened.

Sanz, senator and president of the UCR, aims to stay with a ministry in a hypothetical government of Macri. That is why it minimizes any ideological difference, including that of promoting a former coup leader against Alfonsín's presidency.


(Saw the name "Gómez Centurión" in another article and thought it to be startling, for a name for a military official! Yikes!)

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 08:45 PM

5. Ah, yes. Macri's Carapintada pal, Juanjo Gomez Centurion.

Elliot Abrams - Cheeto's point man in the effort to overthrow Maduro, as you know - made his first real waves in Washington by brokering a deal with Galtieri (of Falklands War fame) around 1981 to provide Argentine advisers to the Contras.

Many of those who became Carapintadas, not surprisingly, had been among the Galtieri-issued Contra advisers (torture, bombings, kidnappings - you know, the usual stuff).

One leading Carapintada - Gómez Centurión - was appointed head of the National Customs Office by Macri when he took office. He may have been in Central America; but I've never heard mention of that.

Juanjo had to be fired a few months later for soliciting bribes in exchange for allowing the value of imported goods to be underreported.

Macri then named him Vice President of the Argentine National Bank (!).

He had to resign last month amid an insolvency crisis at the National Bank (Argentina's largest - and, I might add, long a target of IMF planners, who almost succeeded in forcing de la Rúa to privatize it in 2001).

Quelle surprise.

The kind of favors Cheeto would bestow if someone had tried to stage a coup against Obama, I suspect.

The way of the world, I guess. Thanks again, Judi.

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Response to sandensea (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 13, 2019, 09:57 PM

6. Gmez Centurin seems to be in good favor with the most determined fascists.

That's not a typical next step for someone who's been busted for pursuing greater wealth through bribes to himself.

All the time these same fascists continue to be very pious, far holier than everyone else. So strange!

Thanks for the info. on the career progress of the Carapitada. It definitely does seem to be the way of the world that's getting stranger every day!

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